‘Deep Water’ Will Premiere On SBS With An Interactive Program: Non-Spoiler Review

Rachel Tsoumbakos

SBS is bringing a new network event to Australian screens in October. Deep Water will premiere on October 5 with a four-part series as well as a documentary and immersive online and social media event.

Deep Water, while a fictional series, delves into the homophobic past of Sydney’s eastern suburbs. In the 1980s and 1990s, a wave of murders targeted young homosexual men. In total, there were 80 reported murders, 30 unsolved cases, and thousands of assaults. The four-part series is inspired by these events when the murder of a gay man in current-day Bondi not only dredges up memories, but also links back to the dark past.

 SBS's 'Deep Water' promotional image, Yael Stone and Noah Taylor

SBS’s ‘Deep Water’ promotional image, Yael Stone and Noah Taylor [Image by SBS]

Deep Water explores not only how homophobia has changed since the ’80s, but also how it still lingers today. Episode 1 of Deep Water centers around the brutal murder of a young man. While, initially, the case is considered a possible robbery, when it is discovered the man is gay and from a family that is not open to his sexuality, the case leans more to it being a homophobic crime. The police soon discover that this murder could actually be linked to older cold cases as far back as the ’80s.

Along with the obvious references to a closeted society in the ’80s when it was considered okay to bash gay men, the fear associated with AIDS in the early days of the disease is broached in Deep Water. Playing along with the homophobic aspect, the show also runs parallel with how hard it still is for women in a male-dominated society. Main character Detective Senior Constable Tori Lustigman not only has to fight against the sexist attitudes of men in the police force but try to convince them the new murder is linked to the murky past of gay hate crimes in the ’80s and ’90s.

So far, I have only had the chance to view Episode 1 of Deep Water. While the first episode does feel a little dragged out at points, the duo of Tori Lustigman and Nick Manning manage to help keep everything together as they try to sort out their fresh new professional relationship while also trying to solve the murder. It places both the characters and the viewer into an awkward relationship at the start that actually works to introduce the rest of the cast. By the end of the episode though, most of the characters and story points have been set up and I anticipate the pace will accelerate in subsequent episodes. Also, Episode 1 of Deep Water ends with quite a startling revelation and it turns from a murder to — potentially — a cat-and-mouse game between the police and the killer, so regardless of what you thought going into Episode 1, it becomes near impossible not to watch Episode 2.

SBS's 'Deep Water' starring Noah Taylor
SBS’s ‘Deep Water’ starring Noah Taylor [Image by SBS]

Along with the fictional series, Deep Water – The Real Story, will air on October 16 and will look at the real-life stories that were the inspiration for Deep Water. As well as this documentary, SBS is aiming to bring an immersive experience to Deep Water.

“During the broadcast of the Deep Water, the drama series, audiences will also be able to delve further into the investigation as it unfolds during each episode by following an immersive extended narrative experience on Twitter. In partnership with Screen Australia and Twitter, the initiative will provide viewers with exclusive access to evidence and crime scene material from the drama, providing another layer to the gripping story.

“Photos and footage, previews of episodes and personal insight into the lead character of Detective Tori Lustigman will be shared on Twitter handles @DeepWaterSBS and @ToriLustigman. Viewers can also follow the investigation using #DeepWater and as the drama unfolds on screen, they will feel like they’re investigating the crime right alongside the Bondi detectives.”

Filmed on location in Australia, Deep Water includes many familiar Australian faces including Noah Taylor (Peaky Blinders, Game of Thrones) as Detective Nick Manning, Ben Oxenbould (The Code, The Kettering Incident) as Chris “Toohey,” and Craig McLaughlan (House Husbands, Packed to the Rafters) as Kyle “Hammers” Hampton. However, it also stars a very familiar face from Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. Fans of OITNB will recognize Deep Water‘s main character, Tori Lustigman, as Yael Stone, the actress who plays Lorna Morello.

Are you looking forward to SBS’s premiere of Deep Water? Let us know by commenting below.

Deep Water premieres in Australia on SBS on Wednesday, October 5, at 8.30 p.m. AEST. As yet, there is no official confirmation of whether Deep Water will air outside of Australia.

The official synopsis for Episode 1 of Deep Water is below.

“When Detective Senior Constable Tori Lustigman (Yael Stone) relocates from the country to her childhood suburb of Bondi with her teenage son Will (Otis Pavlovic) – it is to put the past firmly behind her and start life over. Partnered with Detective Nick Manning (Noah Taylor), an outsider wary of newcomers, they are assigned to investigate the brutal murder of a young man whose mutilated corpse is found in an apartment. Was it a robbery gone wrong? A domestic? Or something far more sinister?”

[Featured Image by SBS]